Schizophrenia is a serious brain disorder. It is a disease that makes it difficult for a person to tell the difference between real and unreal experience, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses to others, and to behave normally in social situations. (Landau, 2004)
Approximately one percent of the population develops schizophrenia during their lifetime, and more than two million Americans suffer from the illness in a given year. (Lundy, 1990). Schizophrenia is not unique to the United States. It occurs in countries world-wide, effecting patients of all race, religions, and income levels (Landau, 2004). The Phenomenology of patients is similar. However, the prognosis is variable both internationally and within national groups of patients (Lundy, 1990). Men in the 45-to-49 age group who fathered children where twice as likely to have offspring with schizophrenia as compared to fathers age 25 and under. Men in the 50-plus age range were three times more likely to produce offspring with schizophrenia. Making more than one-quarter of the schizophrenia cases were due to the father. The mother’s age appeared to play no role in the development of schizophrenia. (Kern, 2010).
Two main types of symptoms occur for schizophrenia positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms reflect an excess or distortion of normal functioning. This includes delusions, hallucinations, and severely disorganized absence or reduction of normal functions, such as greatly reduced motivation, emotional expressiveness, or speech. Schizophrenic delusions are not simply unconventional or inaccurate beliefs. Rather, they are bizarre and far-fetched notions. Hallucinations often are tied to the person’s delusional beliefs. For example, if a woman harbors delusions of grandeur, hallucinated voices may reinforce her grandiose ideas by communicating instructions from God, the devil, or angels. According to DSM-IV-TR, schizophrenia is diagnosed when two or more of these characteristic symptoms are actively present for a month or longer. (Hockenbury, D., & Hockenbury, S. 2011 p.563-564).
Negative Symptoms on the other hand are completely different. Negative symptoms include flat affect, alogia, and avolition. Flat affection is when a person responds in an emotionally, “flat” way, showing a dramatic reduction in emotional responsiveness and facial expressions. Alogia, greatly reduces production of speech, while verbal responses are limited to brief, empty comments. Avolition, refers to the inability to initiate or persist in even the simplest day-to-day tasks. For example, dressing, bathing, or even engaging in social activities. (Hockenbury, D., & Hockenbury, S, 2011).
Researchers have identified four primary types of schizophrenia, these consist of: Paranoid, Catatonic, Disorganized, or Undifferentiated type. Paranoid type, which is the most common from all of the types, (Lundy, 1990) includes behaviors of having well organized delusional beliefs reflecting persecutory or grandiose ideas, often frequent hallucinations, usually voices, and finally little or no disorganized behavior, speech, or flat affect. (Hockenbury, D., & Hockenbury, S. 2011).
Catatonic type includes highly disturbed movements or actions, such as extreme excitement, bizarre postures or grimaces, or being completely immobile. Also hearing voices, but instead of hallucinated voices, it will be encountering echoes of words spoken by others, or imitation of movement of others (Hockenbury, D., & Hockenbury, S. 2011).
Disorganized type normally deals with flat affect or inappropriate emotional expressions, severely disorganized speech and behavior, and fragmented delusional ideas and hallucinations. This type manly focuses on the negative symptoms rather than the positive. The undifferentiated type shows a display of characteristic symptoms of schizophrenia but not in a way that fits the pattern for paranoid, catatonic, or disorganized types...
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